Power generation from wind energy has been in existence for many centuries and its technology has grown rapidly over the years. Wind energy is freely available and its supply will not diminish in the future because it is a renewable source, hence ensures sustainability. Moreover, wind energy is friendly to the environment as wind power plants do not cause pollution or emission of green gases.
Wind is of a great interest for consumers who see it as an investment tool. These consumers have gone far in funding the settings for the plants in their communities through purchase of shares. Among these regions is Minnesota, in the United States. In turn, the companies have employed young people who are innovative and have the necessary skills to lead others in future.
Windmills were used in the past for various purposes. In the 7th century AD, Persians used the windmills for milling and irrigation (water pumping) purposes (Practical Action 1). Windmills were used for electricity generation in 1888 when the first wind powered machine was built (Practical Action 1). However, full interest in wind generation started in the 1970’s after a fuel crisis, this is when building and use of wind turbines began.
Generation of wind power occurs when the kinetic energy of the wind is converted into mechanical energy (Wind Energy Development Programmatic EIS 3). The mechanical energy is converted into electricity by a generator.
Wind turbines are of two types: horizontal axis and vertical axis. The components of the turbines are:
- Solid metal column or tower which is installed far above the ground to capture the wind. In addition, it supports the blades and rotor.
- Blades or rotors erected on the column facing the wind’s direction. The blades convert the wind kinetic energy into rotational shaft energy.
- Other components are control and electrical cables, equipment for ground support and interconnection.
Practical Action. Technology Challenging Poverty: Wind Electricity Generation. n.d.
Wind Energy Development Programmatic EIS. Wind Energy Basics: How Wind Power is Generated. n.d.